From Kandy, we went on an epic train ride, that everyone who comes to Sri Lanka, needs to experience.
You can buy your ticket to Ella, only one hour before departure of the train in the train station, because you can not buy it online or in advance-but what you can do is to reserve a ticket one month in advance. That wasn’t an option for us, because we weren’t even sure where we’ll be next day, or in which direction we’ll go or by what transport. They sell as many tickets as they can, everyone can get a ticket even if the train is full-which means it can get quite crowded, especially in high season. The train comes from Colombo, and goes inland through Kandy, towards a mountainous region of the island, cuts through tea plantations, waterfalls and all-in-all a beautiful nature.
We were travelling in second class, and it was no problem getting a seat from locals or tourists, at least for one of us, because we were travelling with a kid. First part of the ride is mostly climbing towards 1.271 m, so the train is slow. Be sure to get a seat on the right side of the train, because there are many more photo opportunities from that side. Even if the train is full, it is no problem to seat between compartments, on the floor, on your backpack, or enjoying the view in the doorway, hanging out of the train and taking pictures of the country-side or just selfies.
We arrived in Hatton around 2 PM, and we used a taxi driver to take us to any available rooms that he knows. He took us to B-Rose lodge, approximately 500m from the train station, with a nice view, our own living room and a very good internet connection. Everything was nice and it was a little more expensive than our other reservations (3500 LRK). Since it was raining as we arrived we waited for a bit, and then went for a walk around this small city. We went to shop for some necessities and some energy drinks and food that Uri needed for his midnight hike to Adam’s Peak.
It cleared out in the afternoon, so I decided to check-out the surroundings and try to find some tea pickers on one of many tea plantations. Since plantations were all around our rooms, I found myself in the middle of one of the plantations in 15 minutes. I quickly found the pickers and they were more than happy to pose for some pictures. They also warned me about the leeches, which I didn’t take too serious, since they were all barefoot or wearing flip-flops. But, before I finished a first group of pictures I found two leeches on my leg. But hey, they were supposed to be good for the blood. Soon after that, the sun started to went down, and the pickers started getting the tea leaves out of the plantation in this large bags and baskets. They took the tea to the train station, there was like a trade spot there, they received their money according to the weight of the tea and went home.
So, we decided on Hatton, because it was on our route to Ella, and Uri wanted to go climb The Adam’s peak. He started at 1 AM from our hotel room, and went with a taxi to the small village beneath the mountain called Dalhousie. The ride cost him 6000 LRK, because he was sharing the van with two other Polish tourists, and it took them almost 80 minutes to get there. Why visit the Adam’s peak? Because of the beautiful sunrise! But, you need to be a little luckier with the weather than he was. The sky was clear as he started to climb the 5500 steps, it was full moon, passing few temples and a few stops where you can buy a tea or some snacks. It took him around 90 minutes to the top, and then he waited at the top. The temple at the top was closed, because it wasn’t high season. There’s a Buddha’s footprint on the top, because it is said that this is where he stepped down from…up there 😉 Anyway, as the time was nearing sunrise the clouds started to appear and block the sun-so, no beautiful sunrise. The shadow from the sun is supposed to cover most of the Sri Lanka, and it should be a great photo opp. So, slowly they went down-and there were still quite a few impressive views on the surrounding area and on the steps-few sections were really steep.
The driver brought him back, we ate our lunch, and went on our way on the afternoon train towards Nuara Oya and continue with the taxi to Nuara Elliya.